Athens-based SKY express has placed a firm order with Airbus for four A320neo aircraft. It is also leasing two further jets and has already outlined a robust domestic schedule for the winter using these two aircraft. It’s the first Airbus order from the airline, and its first significant foray into the passenger jet market.
SKY express bets on the neo
A new aircraft order is a rare beast in these turbulent times, but today Greek airline SKY express has brightened our day with a firm order for some shiny new planes. The 15-year-old airline is taking its first foray into jet aircraft, placing an order with Airbus for four A320neo aircraft.
It’s the first time the airline has ordered anything from Airbus, placing it in the ranks of the other 430 Airbus operators around the world. According to the manufacturer, the Greek airline also leased two A320neos from Aviation Capital Group (ACG), so may well end up with a fleet of six.
Ioannis Grylos, the owner of SKY express and Head of IOGR Group of Companies, commented on the order, saying,
“Our cooperation with Airbus, through the acquisition of six brand new Α320neo aircrafts, meets our ambition to modernize our fleet and have our company transition to a new era. The combination of the most advanced technology along with the fuel efficiency that this type of aircraft offers, are elements that perfectly match the business planning of SKY express for a contemporary fleet that respects the environment and offers safe and quality services to its passengers.”
It’s a bold move from the Athens-based airline, which has traditionally operated only regional routes using a fleet of turboprop aircraft. Its current fleet is made up of six ATR 72 and five smaller ATR 42, which it flies to 34 destinations in Greece.
It’s not truly its first dalliance with the jet engine, as, for just over two years between 2009 and 2011, it did operate an MD-83. And, rather randomly, for a few months in 2006, its cargo arm flew a Boeing 747-200F. Nevertheless, it’s the first time the airline has jumped into the narrowbody jet market with any sort of commitment and could mark a turning point in the growth of the airline.
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Good news for Airbus
The news of the sale of four A320neos will undoubtedly buoy the spirits over at Airbus. The company hasn’t made a commercial aircraft sale since July, and just eight between April and June. For the whole of 2020, its net order book currently stands at 300. Today, that number became 304.
Their Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer shared some positive remarks regarding the order, saying,
“It is good news that SKY express has chosen the A320neo to expand its operations and destinations to an international European network. This is a bold step for the development of the airline, and we are proud to contribute to that with the A320neo allowing for the best performance in terms of fuel burn, carbon emissions and noise as well as featuring a benchmark cabin.”
Routesonline reported earlier this week that SKY express had laid out its A320neo operations from mid-December this year. These focus on routes between Athens and Irakleion, six weeklies in December moving to daily in January, as well as a new route from Athens to Thessaloniki, which will be operated an astounding five times daily.
The December neo operations will be using its two leased aircraft. There’s no news yet on when its owned aircraft will be delivered, but the airline is clearly keen to expand its Airbus-based operations.